WIT Press

Smart growth through joint highway air rights and transit- oriented development


Free (open access)


Volume 12 (2017), Issue 7



Page Range

1142 - 1154

Paper DOI



WIT Press




As part of a broader smart growth strategy transportation nodes, from their initial inception, have been organizing forces in a city’s master-planning process. This role has become more important with time and with the addition of modes of transportation, such as buses and trams, which are being co-housed in these structures. At the same time, driving and the use of highways have been a fact of life for many people who live in circumstances that demand car travel. Major highways and mass transit links generally do a good job of connecting primary destinations. It is the connections from primary destinations to networks of local streets and bus routes that can be problematic. At the community level, local governments concerned with the smart growth and fiscal potential of their communities are beginning to establish development policies to promote connectivity. At the project level, urban designers and developers are increasingly asked to establish good connectivity to adjacent properties as well as within their developments. In these efforts, local governments provide further incentives for new development to locate near transit lines and stations, with design guidelines for projects aimed at improving access to transit and all the integrated or adjacent amenities. This paper attempts to discern the qualitative aspects with regards to the urban design strategies employed and also to present socioeconomic indicators that support financial viability of this kind of development model through the utilization of case studies in Boston, MA and Seattle, WA, citing projects that were completed in the mid to the late 1980s (completed before the recessions of 1989–1992 and 1999–2001) as well as examining and comparing the effect of these developments on socioeconomic indicators in the decades before, during and after project completion.


highway air rights, right-of-way bridging, smart growth, transit-oriented development, urban fabric re-stitching.